The closure of Level Grove Road has been inconvenient for those commuting through Cornelia, and nearby residents have grown frustrated with the construction outside of their homes and apartments, but for businesses on Level Grove Road, the closure has caused loss of customers, revenue and merchandise.
L&D Florist in Cornelia sits on Level Grove Road, right next to the road closure. The business is currently only accessible through Wayside Street, or when traveling west on Level Grove Road. Customers have to take a detour to reach the establishment, which has caused issues for the business.
“They [customers] do not know the extended routes that they must take to get here, and while yes, there are several options to arrive at our destination, usually their GPS just shows them Level Grove Road,” Says Angie Sampsell, floor manager at L&D Florist. “They don’t understand how to get the alternate location routes, or that there are other ways to get here other than [Level Grove], so they just don’t come.”
Sampsell says that some customers have assumed that they were closed due to the Level Grove construction, while others just haven’t been able to figure out how to access the storefront. Not only has L&D Floral lost customer business due to customers not being able to get to the shop, but delivery drivers have struggled to bring merchandise to them.
“Truck drivers don’t have a way to turn around, and they don’t know the additional routes to get here,” she says. “Once they get here, they can’t get back out onto the four-lane [highway], but most of them can’t get here.”
As of right now, they still haven’t received all of their Christmas merchandise, which should all be out on the sales floor by now. The retailer’s staff is doing the best they can to keep customers coming and orders flowing, but it has been difficult.
“Obviously, you do the best that you can,” Sampsell says. “You try and give directions, whether it’s a customer or a vendor, you’re trying to help them navigate, but then you’re spending a lot of extra time on the phone giving directions and instead of working on the business.”
Sampsell says she wishes the city had reached out to businesses over the course of the project to give them updates, and she says a map highlighting alternate routes for her to share with delivery drivers would have helped them avoid some of the issues they have had over the past 4 months.
While the process has been frustrating, and the retailer has lost business, time and sales over the course of the past few months, they’re hopeful that business will return to normal after the road reopens at the end of the month. Until then, Sampsell wants the community to know that even amidst the road closure, they are still open for business.
“We are open, we are here and we’re happy to serve the community,” she says.